April 21, 2021
Written by Public Relations & Communications Strategist Jill Wilson
Augustana is extremely proud to announce that the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) has awarded the university’s Diversity Advocate Certification Program with The Outstanding Diversity Achievement Award-Program — established to recognize programs at NACA member institutions that positively contribute to the development of a diverse culture on campus.
The Diversity Advocate Certification Program was developed by Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Willette Capers — providing participants with the tools needed to become change agents through the demonstrated use of acquired knowledge, support and awareness, aimed at creating a more inclusive environment.
In regards to being honored, Capers said, “I am extremely honored to have received such an important award. I am beyond grateful to the NACA organization, my nominator, Jeff Venekamp, and the Augustana University community for supporting and investing in this critical work. Creating diverse, equitable and inclusive environments rooted in justice will always be at the center of my life, and it feels amazing to see that hard work acknowledged. My heart is full, thank you.”
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion graduated its inaugural class of diversity advocates on December 5, 2019, honoring 32 members of the Augustana community who completed the program. More than twice as many students graduated in the fall of 2020, producing 87 more diversity advocates at the university.
NACA award nominator and Augustana’s Director of Student Conduct Jeff Venekamp said, “This program is changing Augustana in wonderful ways. Willette’s work is going to be instrumental in the ongoing success of Augustana. I cannot be more proud to work at an institution that recognizes the changing world and invests in the future of not only our students, but our staff. Willette is a change-agent and deserves recognition.”
In November of 2020, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) awarded Capers with the Innovative Program Award for her work on the Diversity Advocate Certification Program — presented to professionals and respective institutions who have developed and implemented a program which results in improved educational activities, services or management for an individual campus community or group campus communities. The award winner was announced on the NASPA Region IV West Facebook page.
Most recently, Capers worked with Augustana’s Office of Advancement to provide alumni the opportunity to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion programming. In February, Capers also released a new podcast called “Too Tired to Code-Switch,” intended to connect musical influence with personal experiences.
For more information on Augustana University’s Diversity Advocate Certification program, visit augie.edu/diversity.